Croatia

Cultural Information

Answers to your intercultural questions from a Canadian and a local point of view.

Cultural Information - Conversations

Question:

I am meeting someone for the first time and I want to make a good impression. What would be good discussion topics?

Local Perspective:

Work or career is always the safest discussion topic. If you are not sure of a person’s marital status, avoid asking questions about family. It is easier to start a conversation if you reveal something about yourself or your work and then show an interest in the other person’s work. The money or wages issues should be avoided, unless you ask indirect questions about an average salary for a particular work. Croatians often speak in passive, or indirect sentences which tend to generalize the issues, rather than make it specific.

Humour is appreciated in Croatia, especially in the south and the costal areas. Zagreb and northern regions of the country are more conservative and humour could be interpreted as a sign of immaturity. It is tricky to use humour, because the topics differ from those in Canada, and what Canadians consider humorous, might not make much sense to Croatians.

Canadian Perspective:

For the first meeting, Croatians will want to know about your family and where you are from. Croatians, with detail, will ask why a Canadian has chosen to come to Croatia since many Croatians have emigrated to Canada. It can be beneficial to mention important people you may know, such as restaurant owners, TV producers, journalists, etc. Letting Croatians know who your circle of friends are is an indirect way of speaking about yourself, as Croatians often judge a person by who they are in touch with.

Croatians enjoy discussions about Mediterranean cuisine, food and cooking in general and wine. An enjoyable topic to discuss is nature and healthy food. They are proud of their clean and beautiful environment, which provides their sustenance. It would be wise to bring and be familiar with recipes from home.

Croatians are great followers of world current events and sports. Most Croatian men give special and passionate attention to soccer (football). Other sports such as tennis, rugby, basketball and water polo also has a following. Conversations about celebrity gossip and scandal are also acceptable. Croatians follow American celebrities with great interest. Before arriving in Croatia, you may wish to read up on tabloid scandals.

Making comparisons between Croats and Serbians and to some extent between Bosnians and Croats should be strictly avoided. Croatia, previously a part of Yugoslavia, is an independent country with its own specific language and customs. This difference is heightened by the recent war and nationalist tendencies by politicians and the local populations that have experienced war. Although the topic of politics is not offensive, it is passionate, fast paced and often may appear aggressive to Canadians, particularly in a group (more than two people) setting.

Discussing personal tragedies and problems are frowned upon. It will not only leave Croatians feeling depressed or uneasy, but it is also a sign of a weak character to not be able to over come personal problems and be happy. Avoid discussing money, the lack of it. Generally, it is not acceptable to open up your private affairs or stories on the first meeting.

Similarly, one should avoid asking questions about Croatian experiences during war out of respect and because even if Croatians do open up, the information will be highly censored and selective, sometimes even funny. It will be far from the truth and will leave you with a false sense of what really happened.

Croatians often use irony, cynicism, or dark humour. This may be difficult for Canadians to recognize as humour, for often it may not be accompanied by the Croatian speaker’s change in expression, or laughter and smiles.

Dark humour, laughing at difficult situations or about personal flaws is very typical and not meant as an offence. Croatians enjoy jokes and stories for every situation. Most jokes are sexist or about Bosnians. Generally, they will tell jokes, stories, or make fun of people’s mistakes, lack of judgment or serious thoughts, reversal of fortune, regional mentality, frivolity, drunkenness, and lack of professionalism. Croatians also enjoy "pulling you leg" style humour, especially towards newcomers. A respectable and expected response would be to do the same towards Croatians.

Cultural Information - Communication Styles

Question:

What do I need to know about verbal and non-verbal communications?

Local Perspective:

Personal space is important to Croatians but it is not as overemphasized as in Canada. Croatians use arms and hands more in communications, especially in the costal regions. It is best to observe each person’s degree of comfort with touching and their preference for personal space.

Regular eye contact should be maintained, and a refusal to make eye contact would be regarded as a sign that you do not care for that person.

It is customary to shake hands with both men and women, not only when meeting a person for the first time, but every time you meet. In some cases, men and women will give each other a kiss on each cheek, which is a sign of a good friendship. While talking, men generally do not touch other men unless they have reached a fairly high level of comfort with that person and even then it would be occasional. This rule is similar for contact between men and women. This also applies to a woman touching another woman, although somewhat less.

Friends are more likely to touch each other and although they will often maintain a similar distance when speaking, their sphere of personal space around each person is not considered as private and inviolable. Professionally, eye contact is particularly important. How much associates will touch each other or the distance they will keep depends on familiarity and level of comfort but it is best to keep one’s distance if unsure.

There are some gestures that are considered rude (middle finger erect, waiving a pointed index finger, pointing at someone).

Canadian Perspective:

The distance is closer than that in Canada. This applies not just for speaking but for all occasions, even standing close to a stranger waiting for a bus may seem close, for example. Croatians may become offended if the personal distance is more than the usual two feet, as this indicates a dislike or distrust of the company. Croatians also tend to lean forward quite a bit.

Eye contact is not of great importance. Although Croatians do need some time to become comfortable with strangers and bonding is highly important. Occasionally, establishing eye contact will make Croatians less sceptical and mistrusting of the new person. In conversation, it is used more to make a point. Eye contact with eyes wide open can mean that the person does not agree with the point even if nothing is said.

Generally, you would not touch someone when first meeting them. It is not acceptable for men to touch women on the first meeting, even though men often try. Not responding, or politely responding is often taken to mean that the Canadian female is interested in a sexual relationship.

After establishing a relationship, Croatians occasionally may touch each other during conversation, although this is not common. Girls and some women walk holding hands. Greetings or when saying goodbye are done with a kiss on both cheeks between women and between women and men. Men tend to shake hands.

Croatians only point the index finger when in an argument or when intending to belittle someone. One gesture that is considered rude, used particularly in the coastal area of Croatia, involves the middle and the ring finger bent with the index and pinkie finger extended, demoting anger and spite.

As in Canada, taps on the back can be used to indicate a job well done. Do not, under any circumstance raise the thumb, index, and middle finger at once. This is a Serbian gesture and is connected to Serbian nationalism. For example, if a Canadian visits a bar, he or she should not raise these three fingers to the bartender to indicate three drinks.

There are no specific facial expressions. Croatians are direct and Canadians are likely to misinterpret this as rudeness or ordering. Croatians usually do not ask questions when needing or wanting something. For example, rather than asking to come over for coffee, a Croatian would tell you they are coming over. It is the responsibility of the person to whom the question/statement is being directed to, to reply with a "yes," "no," or "I don’t feel like it." Croatians will not be offended, insulted, or fazed by a negative response, as most are persistent in building social rapport.

Soft-spoken people are viewed with suspicion and could be seen as lacking in self-confidence and vulnerable to be taken advantage off.

Cultural Information - Display of Emotion

Question:

Are public displays of affection, anger or other emotions acceptable?

Local Perspective:

Public display of affection, especially among young lovers, is more common in Croatia than in Canada. You will see young people kissing and hugging in the street, on the public transportation and on beaches. Some older Croatians will openly criticize this type of behaviour, voicing their disapproval, while the others will turn their head to the other side, pretending not to see.

Canadian Perspective:

Yes, public displays of affection among heterosexuals are acceptable and enjoyable to watch for Croatians.

Although Croatians frequently verbally express anger and discontent, they do not appreciate witnessing such exhibits. Nonetheless, most accept this as normal, and may simply move away from the argument.

Public displays of torment and suffering are seldom expressed and are frowned upon. At worst one may be perceived as weak and spoiled or perhaps even pathetic.

Cultural Information - Dress, Punctuality & Formality

Question:

What should I know about the workplace environment (deadlines, dress, formality, etc.)?

Local Perspective:

Croatian women, more than men, tend to dress well in the workplace, both in the summer and in the winter. The latest fashion, especially in Zagreb and other large cities, is observed and closely followed.

Colleagues and supervisors are usually addressed by the last name. Titles "Mr. or Ms." with the first name can be used as well.

Many workplaces keep a 9-5 shift, but there are places that start the workday earlier and finish earlier. Punctuality and reliability are not always respected. Deadlines are usually set with the expectation that they will be met; although there is often great degree of flexibility, especially when setting it.

Canadian Perspective:

Croatians increasingly are following fashion trends of Western countries. Women in Zagreb are up to date on each season’s fashion trends and dress accordingly. In Zagreb, a great emphasis is made to dress to reflect one’s professionalism. Croatians will base their first impression on a person’s dress.

Dress for both women and men is formal or casual trendy. All dress is clean, and neatly pressed. Synthetic materials are avoided, especially in the southern parts of Croatia and during the summer for the other areas of Croatia. Preferred materials are cotton and linen.

When addressing a stranger, someone older, or someone who has not yet been established as a friend, use the vi form (formal for ’you’). For friends, the ti form is used (the casual form of ’you’). One should not address a Croatian on a first name basis unless they are well acquainted. Women are addressed as Gospodga (Mrs.) or Gospodicna (Miss or young woman), plus the last name. Men are addressed as Gospodin, plus the last name.

Croatians have a more flexible and slower concept of time than do most Canadians. The phrase used by Croatians is, "Relax, we still have time." Frequently work is finished last minute and deadlines are not always taken seriously. You would be well advised to shorten the deadline to meet the date for which it must be completed.

Most Croatians have cellular (mobitel) phones and they use them to call, announcing they will be late (15-40 minutes) a few minutes before the actual meeting time. Absenteeism is not tolerated.

Cultural Information - Preferred Managerial Qualities

Question:

What qualities are most highly regarded in a local superior/manager? How will I know how my staff view me?

Local Perspective:

A superior is usually respected for his or her level of education or the title earned through that education. A boss who manages to create an appropriate distance and keep a professional relationship with employees will be better respected. Being too close to the staff opens one to the gossip and office intrigues, which are two least desirable features in a work place.

To earn the trust and respect of a local supervisor/manager, one should offer help or advice only when asked. The staff will try hard to win the friendship and trust of a manager, more so, if he/she is a Canadian. They often view that relationship as an opportunity to move to Canada.

Canadian Perspective:

Being authoritative is the most highly valued quality in local superiors or managers. Authority comes from knowledge, education, experience, and acting with confidence and leadership. Being hardworking is less important and personable, even less. Croatians are generally sceptical or conservative about new ideas or methods from both locals and non-locals. The non-local must be authoritative, educated, highly experienced, and not-so personable. Non-locals that attempt to learn the Croatian language are highly respected.

It is very difficult to find out how your staff views you and it varies according to circumstance and job type. Generally, there is no clear way to know for sure, as Croatians keep their true opinions and feelings to themselves, unless gossiping.

In most cases, if the staff is silent or does not give additional work there is a problem. When a problem is addressed, it is done so passionately once or twice, and then one gives up. Although Croatians are direct, they do not tend to openly offer constructive criticism to colleges about their work performance. This is partly due to the socialist background and the belief that a person cannot change. If the staff is not happy with the non-local colleague they may offer a few indirect and subtle comments, such as; "are you sure?" or "I don’t think that’s a good idea." Typically, the staff will let you know about their dissatisfaction when the job is complete.

If the staff is happy with the non-local worker they will not offer compliments or praise, but perhaps criticism and ways to improve.

Cultural Information - Hierarchy and Decision-making

Question:

In the workplace, how are decisions taken and by whom? Is it acceptable to go to my immediate supervisor for answers or feedback?

Local Perspective:

The decision making process varies from a workplace to workplace. The size and hierarchy of the organization will determine the level of responsibility for different levels of management. Croatia was, up to 1990, a communist country and one party system has left deep imprints in work relationship. This means that usually one person, a president or a top manager, makes most of decisions and receives the greatest benefits for success. Yet, no one is responsible for failure. Unfortunately, under the pressure of a public scrutiny, there are still instances of "scape-goats" who are usually designated by the top person to take the fall for him/her.

It is acceptable to go to the immediate supervisor for answers or feedback, but do not expect to get a straight answer. The answers are often very vague or indirect.

Canadian Perspective:

Manager/supervisor make decisions; usually they do not need to provide explanations as to how the decision was made. The manager/supervisor makes decisions with little consultation.

Typically, the manager/supervisor accompanied by the lawyer and financial assistant generate ideas. As new ideas are not always welcome, the manager/supervisor usually follow international trends or successes.

It is definitely acceptable to go to your immediate supervisor for answers or feedback.

Cultural Information - Religion, Class, Ethnicity, & Gender

Question:

Briefly describe the local culture’s attitudes regarding the following: Gender, Class, Religion and Ethnicity. What impact would the above attitudes have on the workplace?

Local Perspective:

Gender: The women are equally educated as men, and thus have an equal opportunity for advancement in the work hierarchy. Croatia has a higher percentage of women doctors and engineers than Canada. However, the salary equality is still poorly established, as is the authority in a work place. The maternity benefits and time off for mothers to look after an ill child are quite generous compared to Canada.

Religion: Religion and nationality have no impact in work place. Croatia is a secular state and the religion is not discussed in workplace, nor given any importance.

Class: A class is often determined by the family background, as well as by the level of education. For example, someone whose family background is city-educated (like lawyers, professors, doctors) would be more respected and viewed as a better person to know than a person whose roots are connected to a farming family, or someone with blue collar working parents.

Ethnicity: This varies according to ethnic background and workplace. Generally, being Serbian or Roma, to a lesser extent, will have little impact in the workplace. At work, Croatians tend to keep their thoughts and feelings private. Occasionally, Croatians may make derogatory ethnic comments to Serbians—and other ethnicities—when irritated or in disagreement with them. Otherwise, attitudes regarding ethnicity are not expressed in the presence of the person and will not affect work. Stereotypes of certain ethnic groups exist but will not affect work. Ethnicity plays a minor role in the workplace, except during the hiring phase. Ethnicity plays a role when applying for a job.

Canadian Perspective:

Gender: Generally a conservative patriarchal culture, especially in the southern parts of Croatia. For Canadian women and homosexuals, the more official and less personable the better. The word gender has just come into the Croatian language.

Religion: untouchable; as a subject in itself, it is not talked about.

Class: big divide between rich and poor. In cities, the differences between classes are slightly more predominate. Rarely discussed and mostly in terms of wealth. As Croatia is an economy in transition, they are starting to place a higher emphasis on class as it related to money.

Ethnicity: Sceptical towards Serbians, otherwise not a subject discussed. There are cases of segregated schools for Croatian and Serbian children in rural areas. People of African descent are considered to be American business people, United Nations agents (e.g. UNPROFOR), or musicians. Roma people living in Croatia are second-class citizens (similar to African Americans in 50’s America ). Although Croatia has various ethnicities within the country, it is unlike Canada, which tends to promote the virtues of a multicultural and tolerant society.

These attitudes would have little impact in the workplace, especially when money is involved. However, Croatians will be more critical and sceptical of Serbians.

Cultural Information - Relationship-building

Question:

How important is it to establish a personal relationship with a colleague or client before getting to business?

Local Perspective:

The business relationship with an appropriate distance should be maintained at all times. As soon as the relationship changes from a business to the personal, the respect decreases. It is better to keep the communication in a formal tone if one wishes to establish a business relationship.

Canadian Perspective:

This depends on whether a contract has been signed. Before a contract is signed, it is imperative that a personal relationship be established, background checks on the person be made, and credentials checked. Not only is there a lot of fraud, but also, many people make empty promises. Canadians should only cautiously place their trust in a Croatian’s character when taking them out for coffee, drinks and dinner.

Establishing a personal relationship is not very significant before getting to business if a contract has already been signed, being professional is much more important. Taking the colleague out for coffee is beneficial and viewed as being professional though not personal. Building a social relationship is more important than building a personal relationship, especially with the manager/supervisor or potential client.

Cultural Information - Privileges and Favouritism

Question:

Would a colleague or employee expect special privileges or considerations given our personal relationship or friendship

Local Perspective:

Yes, a colleague or employee would expect special privileges if personal or friendship relationship is established, which could include preferred treatment, pay increase, hiring of his/her friends or family, shorter work days, time off, and others. It is not recommended that any of these are granted. However, the refusal of these privileges could mean the end to the relationship.

Canadian Perspective:

Yes, friends or family will receive preferred treatment and be given the first chance a new job. Granting such a privileged or consideration is loosely based on the applicant’s dedication and/or merit.

Before publicly posting job openings in the newspaper, family and friends of the employer are given the first opportunity to be hired for the job. Resumes from other applicants are misplaced. Often times, publicly publishing job openings in the newspaper is a legal formality. More than likely an employee has already been found by the time the call for applications makes it to the newspapers.

Cultural Information - Conflicts in the Workplace

Question:

I have a work-related problem with a colleague. Do I confront him or her directly? Privately or publicly?

Local Perspective:

It is better to confront a colleague about the work-related problem privately. However, Croatians are very proud people, and easily offended by criticism. It is better to make an indirect suggestion for a change and ask for his or her opinion in resolving an issue at hand.

The work-related problems should be discussed privately. It is advisable to ask questions to get the other person’s opinion first, rather than to make accusations. Using an indirect tone, you may wish to say: "I feel that there is a problem. Have you noticed any difficulties?" It would be wrong to say: "I have a problem with you, or with the way you do something."

Croatians have a strong sense of superiority and do not think that a foreigner can handle the issues on their territory as well as they can. Asking their opinion is always a good way to earn a Croatian’s trust.

Canadian Perspective:

It is best to privately confront the person; if it does not yield results, then public confrontation is acceptable. Problems or offending someone can be noticed by distance, silence, stiff body gestures, and gossip.

Cultural Information - Motivating Local Colleagues

Question:

What motivates my local colleagues to perform well on the job?

Local Perspective:

Job satisfaction, a sense of commitment, money, loyalty, good working conditions, fear of failure, etc. are all good motivators for Croatian workers. However, the salary increase and job security are on the top of the list.

Canadian Perspective:

Croatia has a high unemployment rate, approximately 40-50 %. Money and job security to be the most important motivating factors to perform well on the job. Connected to these two factors are also social status, personal job satisfaction, and fear of failure. For example, if a Croatian doctor makes enough money to support him/herself and family they will not leave their profession to become a bar tender even though they salary may be higher.

Generally, Croatians prefer to work in foreign (Western) companies where salaries are higher and stable.

Cultural Information - Recommended Books, Films & Foods

Question:

To help me learn more about the local culture(s), please recommend: books, films, television shows, foods and web sites.

Local Perspective:

Here are some websites: www.croacia.com, www.croatians.com, www.meet-croatia.com, www.croatiaemb.net, and www.hic.hr.net, Adriatic Dolphin Project www.blue-world.org, CultureLink www.culturelink.hr/, Living Archipelago in Croatia www.hhi.hr/archipelago, Famous Croatians mirror.veus.hr/darko/etf/popis.html, and the Croatian Language www.eleaston.com/croatian.html.

Canadian Perspective:

Books to read: Most books are not translated or poorly translated into English. Below is a list of properly translated books. Slavenka Drakulic: How we Survived Communism, and Even Laughed; Ante Nazor & Zoran Ladic: History of Croatians: Illustrated Chronology; Ivo Goldstein: Croatia, A History; Dubravka Ugresic: The Museum of Unconditional Surrender; and Marcus Tanner: Croatia, A Nation Forged in War.

Films to see: Branko Marjanovic: Ciguli Miguli, Fedor Hanzekovic: Svoga tela gospodar, Branko Schmidt: Sokol ga nije volio, Lukas Nola: Nebo, sateliti, and Dalibor Matanic: Fine mrtve djevojke.

Television shows: To see the Croatian actor and character, Goran Visnic.

Websites in English: Croatian Homepage—http://www.hr/index.en.shtml; Croatian National Tourist Board—http://www.croatia.hr; Croatia Net—www.croatia.net ; Croatian Traditional Music, Institute of Ethnology—http://maief.ief.hr/cd-eng.html; CultureNet—http://www.culturenet.hr/v1/new/; Dalmacija—http://dalmacija.net/home/; Lubenica—http://www.open.hr/~dalbor/lubenice/; Thousand Islands of Croatia—http://public.srce.hr/islands/; Women, State, Culture...—http://k.mihalec.tripod.com; Zagreb After Work Party—http://www.awp.hr/awpx/default.htm; and ZaMir Zine—http://www.zamirnet.hr/eng/index.html.

Cultural Information - In-country Activities

Question:

When in this country, I want to learn more about the culture(s) and people. What activities can you recommend?

Local Perspective:

You should visit a tourist information centre upon your arrival. Zagreb and other major cities have well organized tourist information centres. The officers at the tourist centres are fluent in many languages and can provide all the information about the sights, concerts and festivals.

Most of the student centres at the local universities (in Zagreb, Osijek, Split, Rijeka, Dubrovnik) can provide you with an interpreter and a cultural guide. The rates for their services are reasonable.

Canadian Perspective:

Places to visit: To name but a few: Porec—Episcopal Complex of the Euphrasian Basilica, Split—Diocletian Palace, Dubrovnik—Old city and near by islands, Plitvice jezera—National Park, Korcula—Moreska, and Trogir—Historic city (all UNESCO World Heritage sites); Vokovar—the Vucedol culture; Sloin—Roman ruins, graves, amphitheatre... ; Krapina—Bones of Neanderthals; Stubica—Matija Gubac, 16 Century Liberation of Surfs; Trakovcan—Castles; Zagreb—The Nation’s capital; Krk—Archaeological, Baska Ploca (first Croatian alphabet); Krka—for nature and falls; Istra—Hum, put glagolice (first Croatian alphabet and the world’s smallest town); Pula—Amphitheatre; Mljet—Island National Park; and Sinj—Sinjska alka (traditional event).

Food to eat: To name but a few: Medimorska gibanica, Zagorski struki, Grah i Zelje—beans and sour cabbage, Smoked sausages (e.g. kulen, sunka...), Fish paprikas, Fresh trout in corn flour, Blood sausage, Stuffed bell peppers, Ajvar, Sarma, Mlinci, Fritule, Palacinke, Pig suckling, Lamb on the spit, Anchovies marinated in olive oil, Prsut, Salted fish, Fresh sea water fish, Shellfish, Crayfish, Fresh homemade pasta, Truffles, Wild asparagus, Forest Mushrooms, Frog legs, Escargot, Capers, Local olives and olive oil, Goat cheese, Baked red peppers, and Kestanj pirej.

Summer and springtime are filled with various festivals from celebrating the city’s or town’s patron saint to international jazz, writer’s, and folklore festivals. Local open markets are a treat to see, especially Tresnavka Plac in Zagreb where locals do most of their food and clothes shopping. Cafes and bars are everywhere, and during the summer and springtime you can sit outside. Canadians should buy tickets to see Croatia’s National Folklore Ensemble, Lado perform traditional Croatian songs and dance.

Every major city in Croatia has a monthly new bulletin listing the major cultural, media, restaurants, and sporting events. The National Tourist Office also has similar information. Other events can be found in local and national Croatian newspapers and radio.

Cultural Information - National Heroes

Question:

Who are this country's national heroes?

Local Perspective:

Croatian heros are connected to the historic and cultural life of Croatia. Historic heroes are: kralj Tomislav (the first crowned king of Croatia (925AD), family Zrinski-Frankopan, Ban Jelacic, Stjepan Radic and Ante Starcevic. Cultural heroes are Ivan Zajc, Antun Mihanovic, Petar Preradovic, Ivan Mazuranic and many others.

Canadian Perspective:

Croatia’s heroes are: Miroslav Krleza—writer, Ivana Brlic Mazuranic—writer, Dora Pejacevic—composer, Marija Juric Zagorka—writer, journalist, first female journalist, feminist, Goran Ivanisevic—tennis player and Wimbledon champion, Nikola Tesla—inventor, Franjo Tudman—Croatia’s first president, politician, and independence leader, Ban Jelacic—politician and liberated Croatian from Hungarian influences and Ivica and Janica Kostelic—international skiing champions.

Cultural Information - Shared Historical Events with Canada

Question:

Are there shared historical events between this country and Canada that could affect work or social relations?

Local Perspective:

Not really. However, during the past war (1991-1994) in Croatia, Canada promoted of the idea that all the parties involved in the war were at fault equally; this is not how the Croatians experienced the war. Furthermore, during the same war, Canadian Peacekeepers got involved in the open fire between the Croatian Armed Forces and Serbian guerrillas who were blockading main roads in Croatia. The Canadians sided with the Serbian guerilla fighters and became the first peacekeepers in the world to turn the peacekeeping mission into the fighting mission. As the result they killed a number of Croatian solders. This act was seen by the majority of Croatians as an unfriendly and drastically changed the Croatian opinion of Canadians in general.

Canadian Perspective:

None that could affect work or social relations.

Cultural Information - Stereotypes

Question:

What stereotypes do Canadians have about the local culture that might be harmful to effective relations?

Local Perspective:

Canadians are perceived as uninformed of the historic facts of Croatia and to the cultures of Europe in general. Very often they are seen as a "piggy-back" riders to the British or the American political and economic policies, and thus lacking the backbone.

Canadian Perspective:

Croatians are often thought of as violent, tough, and aggressive. This is partly due to the fact that most Canadians first heard of Croatia through the media’s war coverage. The result is the assumption that Croatia is still physically war-torn and unsafe. Croatia has made tremendous advancements, structurally and economically, when the war ended around 10 years ago. Although cities and some towns may be restored, and people dress well, there are still many emotional and spiritual scares that are hidden from the public eye. Most Croatians are filled with pride, and are likely borrow money to spend on beautiful clothes and luxuries, just to not look poor. A balance should be made between assuming Croatia is war torn and economically well off.

Cultural Information - About the Cultural Interpreters

Local Interpreter:

Your cultural interpreter was born in Osijek, Croatia the oldest of three children. She was raised in this town until the age of nineteen in the northeastern region of Croatia. She moved to Canada to continue her studies and graduated from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Your cultural interpreter is a published author of many articles and three books in Croatian. She is a freelance writer for "Vecernje novosti", a Croatian daily paper similar to the Globe and Mail. She spends several months every year in Croatia, where she continues to develop her working relationships with the local publishers, social activists and humanitarian agencies. She is currently living in Ottawa and working as a cultural interpreter and a Croatian language instructor. She is married and has two children.

Canadian Interpreter:

Your cultural interpreter was born in Ontario and was raised in the city of Hamilton. She studied Anthropology and International Justice in Hamilton, at McMaster University. Her studies sent her abroad for the first time to the Dominican Republic where she studied agriculture and social justice. Afterwards, your cultural interpreter went to Croatia, where she lived for 4 years. She works as a consultant and project manager for Eastern Europe.

Disclaimer

Country Insights - Intercultural Issues are intended to provide snapshots of the overall social and cultural norms as well as the workplace environment that a Canadian might face working in a specific country. For each country, two perspectives are provided: one by a Canadian and the other by a person born in the selected country. By comparing the "local point of view" with the "Canadian point of view", you will begin to form a picture of that country's culture. We encourage you to continue your research using a variety of other sources and to use Triangulation as an evaluation process. Although cultural informants were asked to draw on as broad a base of experience as possible in formulating their answers, these should be understood as one perspective that reflects the particular context and life experiences of that person; they are not intended to be a comment on any particular group or society.

You may disagree with or object to the content of some responses. This is to be expected given the complexity of the subject and the problems associated with speaking generally about an entire country and its people. We would encourage you to share your experiences; your contributions will help to make Country Insights a richer environment for learning.

The content of Country Insights in no way reflects official policy or opinions of the Government of Canada, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada or the Centre for Intercultural Learning.